Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Hi guys!

Sorry for being MIA on here recently, since the USN challenge I have been crazy busy!

Work has been hectic and I have been settling into a new training routine – I don’t know about you, but the first week of a new programme is a killer!! Talk about DOMS in muscles I forgot I had, it’s like an anatomy lesson every time I train.

I’m also doing a lot of research into a different nutritional approach which I feel will be more suited to me and my goals. Once I have everything totally sorted I’ll update on here. At the moment it’s just about experimenting a bit and seeing what fits and what doesn’t.

So… the day after the USN challenge finished I felt totally lost! I had goals in mind for 2013 but no definitive plan written down. I was booked in with my Trainer as usual on the Monday so we took some time before the session to get a focus sorted out. I like to have goals and direction, to strive for something seems to engage my mental attitude as well, I don’t like to ‘drift’ and planning is one of the keys to success!

I set 3, 6 and 12 month goals and have been cracking on with them ever since. I will be doing a separate post about the goals as I feel they need their own feature :)

In the meantime (running up to Xmas) I am focusing on getting settled into the new routine, building a decent base on lifts such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups and bench etc; and honing in on my diet.

What I will say is that my focus is based much more around Athleticism and things are going to be getting gritty and hard-core – I am very excited and can’t wait to see the physical, mental and fitness changes over the next year.

I have lots of things lined up and will be making 2013 one hell of a year!!

I also want to thank every last one of you who has supported me over the past 3 months, it has made the process much smoother – my life has changed completely and the whole journey has been even more fulfilling and rewarding knowing that I have encouraged others to change too.

I may not be where I want to be. I may not be where I should to be, but thankfully I’m not where I used to be. My past has made me who I am today, it has been a long hard journey but I have become stronger, and learnt more about myself and what I want to achieve through every experience I have encountered. Now I am confident that nothing can stand in my way of fulfilling my dreams – all it takes is courage, dedication, a little bit of fight and anything can be accomplished.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Happy Monday Peeps :)

It felt so strange this morning waking up and not having the USN challenge to crack on with - I felt a little bit lost.

I haven't really had much spare time to reflect back on the challenge yet, but want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last 12 weeks. It has made the whole process even more enjoyable, and I have grown so much as a person from it - thanks guys :)

I am going to share with you today a new recipe!! I hope you give it a try, it actually tastes like Nutella. I will warn you that you will need willpower to not eat the whole batch straight away- I had to take my dogs out for a walk to take my mind off the little jar in the cupboard.

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

200g Hazelnuts
3 Tbl spn Cocoa Powder (Green & Blacks Organic dark)
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Tsp 100% Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 - 1 Tsp Coconut Oil (melted)
  • Preheat oven (200c)
  • Lay Hazelnuts on a baking sheet on a tray and toast in oven for approx 10 mins
  • Once cooled remove most of the skins (I left some on because I got impatient)
  • Place Hazelnuts in Magimix or food processor and blitz until smooth (this took about 7 minutes. Have faith that it will eventually turn creamy)
  • Once the Hazelnut butter is made, add the cocoa powder, vanilla essence and maple syrup and blend again (keep scraping the mixture from the side of the bowl, don't worry if it turns into a ball just keep mixing)
  • After about 1 minute add the melted coconut oil, blitz again and wait for your Nutella to turn creamy and glossy.
At this point you may want to taste it to check for sweetness. I prefer it to be more of a bitter chocolate taste so you may want to add more vanilla, maple syrup or even a sweetener such as Xylitol if you have a really sweet tooth.

And there you have healthy Nutella!! If you have any willpower it should last for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

I would say you could get around 15 reasonable servings out of this with each serving containing:
101 cals, 1g sugar, 9g healthy fats and 2g protein

Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try - I am currently planning a few other flavour variations so keep an eye out!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dropping In To Say Hello

Happy Hump Day!!

I just wanted to drop by and let you all know that there won't be any big posts now until next week.

Hopefully I will get chance on Monday to sit down and write a bit of an overview about this week, but as you probably know I am in the last few days of the FINAL week of the challenge and seem to have soooo much to plan and organise before I submit my 'after' picture and report.

I will say that training is going well; even though I wake up aching a little bit more each day, and a little bit more tired, I am still ploughing on all the way to the finish line!

I'm super excited to see the 'after' picture which I'll take on Sunday morning, but I am also treating myself to a photo shoot on Friday!!

Although this is all really fun it's also nerve wracking so I'm trying to keep chilled on a night, get plenty of sleep as usual and just keep focused on what needs to be done. However the pictures turn out I am extremely proud of how far I have come in the last 12 weeks and how I have developed and grown (not only in muscle, but as a person too).

Haha, I sure know how to ramble on!! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and thank you for your support and encouragement - it means the world to me.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Learning Curve

Happy Sunday

What a week this has been - talk about getting stressed (not good - cortisol - bad news)

So what happened?

I took some time to reflect on Thursday about what had made this week so different to the others. Things had been going great until Monday then everyday seemed to get a little bit harder until I finally broke on Thursday.

It wasn't exactly bad - although training on Wednesday was one of the hardest sessions I have ever had to get through (I was drained and my head was all over the place trying to figure out what was wrong) I still managed to increase the weights and was lifting more than when I was gaining! But something wasn't right and I felt rough.

After getting great results from Carb Cycling - getting leaner, maintaining muscle mass and seeing my abs come through; I got a bit over excited and decided to drop my carbs lower and was just going to have one carb re-feed at the end of the week - Never again!!!

This did not work for me at all - my training frequency and intensity needs to be fuelled with adequate carbs, as does my body, and i dropped to a silly level. It had the opposite effect to what I was getting with Carb Cycling, I was totally fried physically, lost the filled muscles and looked 'puffy'. This sent my mind into overdrive, worrying what was happening - I'd just ruined everything I had worked hard to get from one daft idea. As each day went by the worrying got worse, the fuel reduced and I was in a vicious little cycle - by Thursday everything was fried, physically and mentally I was drained.

So much so I was crazy emotional on Thursday so took the afternoon to relax and switch off from everything - I knew my body was shouting out for a break and some fuel, so I increased my carbs again and came up with a plan of action; to train once on Friday at a lower intensity, get to bed extra early and carb up on Saturday and train my circuit as usual.

It worked a treat :)

By Saturday afternoon I was back to normal - not stressed out, well fuelled and much happier in the gym again. I woke up today lean again with full muscles!!! Happy Days!!

So...this week has really been a massive learning curve for me - it's reiterated how important it is to:
  1. Listen to my body
  2. Stick to what is working
  3. Remember that because something works for one person doesn't mean it will work for me
  4. To eat according to my goals and training etc
  5. To never again cut most carbs out of my diet again!! The body doesn't like extremes
  6. Don't try and fix what isn't broken
Lucky for me I analyse everything, and if something isn't right I'll change it and this has saved me this week. After taking my measurements on Thursday I am sooo pleased I got back on track with the plan that was working because this morning my measurements are right where they should be.
Body fat down, and girth measurements showing that I've maintained muscle!!!

Hope you've all had a great weekend - I am now off work for a whole week - the longest break I've had all year, so I can focus everything on the FINAL week of the challenge!!

"Never a failure - Always a lesson"